Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Revisions: Gettin' It On (or Revisions of Sugar Plums Dancing Through My Head)

Tip of the day: Thanks to all our blog readers, including those in "unknown" countries that our url logger can't detect. I feel popular and mysterious!

When I'm doing revisions, it's easy for me to get sucked back into my story and plow through a bunch of pages, but it's also easy to get distracted. Distractions start with the simple ("I need a bathroom break," "I could use a drink," and "I really need to file my nails."), and then lead to more complex time-suckers ("Now that I'm up filing my nails, why don't I cut my bangs with my nail scissors?" or "Let's just see what's going on in LJ-land for a second.").

How does one combat this?

My answer is a Self-Imposed Goals and Rewards System! How does it work? By telling yourself you can only do certain things after you've accomplished something. Here's some examples of Self-Imposed Goals and Rewards I use:

1. I can refresh your hotmail after revising this one chapter and sending it to your CPs.

2. I can refresh the new posts on Verla's Blue Board after revising two chapters.

3. I can refresh new LJ Friends' posts after revising a particularly tough page.

4. I can eat a handful of chocolate chips from the freezer after rewriting one page.

5. I can reply to an email after adding in an important element to a chapter.

6. I can read a chapter of a really great book (right now Libba Bray's A SWEET FAR THING) after revising and re-reading my own chapter.

7. I can go to bed after getting a couple revised chapters off to my CPs.

Believe it or not, these things work!

What is also good motivation for me is I have a revision to do on an older MG novel for an editor and I really want to start on it by the Self-Imposed Date of May 1st. My reward will be probably chocolate chip cookie dough cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory.

How do you motivate yourself to stay away from the internet and get revising?

Deena, Miss Recently Repped


Rhonda Helms said...

Good question! I do the same kind of thing--I can hop on forums once I finish a certain chunk of pages...

Emily Marshall said...

Yeah, this is good. Rewards are always good. I usually just have page day goals, or some goal to finish by the end of the day. And most of my rewards involve being able to watch tv or something like that.

Ghost Girl (aka, Mary Ann) said...

Ha, Deena! That's pretty much my routine. I bribe myself to keep going. But interestingly enough, if I take myself to the cafe or to the office at the college, I don't have to use bribes. It's more like, "I don't want to leave my table to go pee because I might lose my spot...or I don't want to have to lug my laptop into the john because I'm afraid someone will walk off with it if I leave for a minute (yikes--my life's on that sucker!)

The reward I give myself at the office is a nice walk around the lake to clear my thoughts. But mostly, the setting really sucks me back into the book, and I really get lost in it.

Kate Fall said...

My rewards are usually video game time. No Guitar Hero until I get more writing done!

BTW, Kelley and I wrote for over an hour without a break last night at the bagel place. Ghost Girl's right; you need fewer breaks when you're worried about people stealing your laptop.

Lisa Schroeder said...

Hmmm, I should try this. I think it might be better than:

Come on Lisa, write, you're such a loser.

Stop it. Stop playing on LJ right now. Go write. GO. What? What do you mean you don't want to? GO WRITE! All right, fine, go play on Verla's for a few minutes, then I mean, you better start writing OR ELSE!

DeenaML said...

HA! Glad I'm not alone. Though I do like the theory that writing somewhere else makes you not want to lose your supplies/seat!

Kristina Springer said...

I leave the house. And I don't go somewhere with free internet access (too tempting!). :-)

Anonymous said...

This entry is so timely for me -- I'm getting ready to spend a few weeks finishing up the rewrites on my YA fantasy, and was just thinking the other day that I should think a bit about how to cut down on procrastination. Thanks for writing this!

amuse me said...

Great posting. The internet is a major distraction for me, especially when I want to read your postings every day!! Kidding! I do enjoy all the motivation the five of you provide.

A special thanks to Emily for her leadership at the library. It has been fun, so far, with more to come.